The Forest of Violins

Violins, in Val di Fiemme, found their raw material: the resonance firs. The lute-maker, among who there was Stradivari, came here from Cremona to buy the most precious wood, which then would have become perfect musical instruments.

The Forest of Violins - Val di Fiemme

The story goes that it was Stradivari himself who went in Paneveggio wood in search of the best and most suitable trees for its violins: centuries old firs, which wood represented the ideal raw material for the soundboxes.

The timber of the fir is elastic, and it better transmit the sound, while its little lymphatic system acts as the pipes of an organ creating the resonance. For that reason trees are cut with the waning moon, between October and November, when in the trunk there is not many lymph. The best trees can be recognized by the very thin and perfectly concentric growth rings, with straight and thin fibres and few knobs. So, in the XVI and XVII centuries, they grew thanks to the great chill of the Little Galciation, and became precious to Stradivari and the Cremona lute-makers whose instruments reached the excellence.

Nowadays it is quite impossible to find so perfect specimens, but the request for "resonance firs" is still present and gives life to a limited but significant trade: some dozen of cubic metres are used every year by the craftsmen of the resonance table factory for Tesero pianos, by Cremona lute-makers, or exported to Japan, the piano case builder leader country.

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